Marco Greco earned the pole for Sunday's Pennzoil 200 at NHIS in Loudon, New Hampshire. Greco's fast time of 23.717 was set on the first of his two qualifying laps. Greco managed to shave nearly three tenths of a second off his previous best lap,...
Marco Greco earned the pole for Sunday's Pennzoil 200 at NHIS in Loudon, New Hampshire. Greco's fast time of 23.717 was set on the first of his two qualifying laps. Greco managed to shave nearly three tenths of a second off his previous best lap, which was set on friday. This is Greco's first pole in the IRL, his previous best start was eighth at Phoenix in March.
Tony Stewart who usually makes his home on the front row of the IRL grids had handling problems, placing him 14th in the starting line-up. Stewart was a half second off the pace he set earlier in the day in practice. Teammate Robbie Buhl qualified seventh with Arie Luyendyk joining Buhl on the outside of row four.
Kenny Brack presented his car minutes before the 1:30 p.m. deadline for the end of qualifying. Brack had an accident in the morning practice session and the crew worked on the car right up until the qualifying deadline. Brack's qualifying run was six tenths quicker than his previous best of the weekend, set saturday morning.
Sam Schmidt, who crashed in the morning session, has borrowed enough parts to repair the car and will be able to start the Pennzoil 200 at the back of the grid. Pagan Racing has lent LP Racing an engine cover and a left sidepod. Schmidt's Hope Pre-Paid Fuel Card Racing Special will also have left end fences from Scandia and brake ducting from PDM Racing.
Kelley Racing has decided to scratch the Riley and Scott chassis for the weekend. The team will race its Dallara chassis with Aurora engine and Goodyear tires. "You have to be fast off the truck and we haven't had enough time to get the car ready" a team member said. Driver Mark Dismore added "We don't feel like we need to start a race in a car that we haven't run more than 10 laps consecutively". The Riley and Scott chassis ran in the mid 24 second range within 30 minutes of being unloaded off the truck on tuesday but the team chased the set-up in the wrong direction causing the team to split their time between the R&S and the Dallara.
The three most important things in getting a car to go fast around NHIS are handling, handling, handling.
Most drivers are reporting a push condition and many drivers who are used to starting near the front are mid-pack. Foyt team cars are qualified 12th and 16th. Boat who qualified 16th, said "we've been struggling all weekend. We had a really good push and it was extremely bad in qualifying. There's nothing you could do."
With many drivers and teams chasing the set-up for NHIS, Blueprint Racing and driver Jim Guthrie found one of the problems leading to their handling problems. It turns out that the right front pad on the team's scale/setup pad was malfunctioning, resulting in the car's right front being one hundred pounds too heavy.
Mike Groff was listed in good condition at 5:00 p.m. at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Hospital. Dr. Henry Bock will provide another update at 10 a.m. Sunday morning.
1997 Pennzoil 200 Lineup (top ten) 1. Greco 2. Goodyear 3. Brack 4. Kite 5. Salazar 6. Gregoire 7. Buhl 8. Luyendyk 9. Sospiri 10. Guerrero
David Reininger - Motorsport News International